August 29, 2008
August 25, 2008
What the heck was that?
The closing ceremony at Beijing had all the clout and pomp that it should have, except for 8 minutes of total and utter madness put on by the next host city, London.
Whilst I have no idea, I'm guessing that what London tried to convey with its red London bus, umbrellas, lollipop lady, graffiti and Jimmy Page is that visitors to London will wait ages for a bus and then along will come... Rain!
(In fact, if you see a lollipop lady during your trip, you will have come at the wrong time and missed the Games, because all of the kiddies will be on holiday).
Maybe, of course, the whole eight minutes was an exercise in self-parody. The red bus and zebra crossing is what the world expects of Britain's capital city and that is all they are going to give you. Talking of self-parody, enter Boris. Love him or laugh at him, he is not easy to ignore. Again, two interpretations:
1. Was he, with his untied suit jacket, hands in pockets and extravagant waving, mocking the self importance of the passing-over-of-the-Olympic-flag ceremony?
2. Was he insulting China and the IOC with his excessive informality?
Whatever the answer is, I thought him rather a refreshing change from the pompousity that walks with the Olympic movement wherever it goes. Anything with a Boris in charge be it Johnson, Yeltsin or even Badenov is guaranteed to not work quite properly and to be somewhat amusing.
Posted by Rollo at 11:55
August 18, 2008
Australia finally officially adopted green and gold as its sporting colours with the assent of the Govenor-General Sir Ninian Stephen in 1984. The exact colours were specified as being Pantone Matching System numbers 116C and 348C... but why? The common belief is that the colours were chosen because they are the dominant colours of Australia's floral emblem, the Golden Wattle, but I suspect that the reason is more pragmatic.
I've found references as far back as 1899 when the Australian cricket captain Joe Darling walked into a suit shop in London and asked for 15 green blazers piped in gold trim for the Australian touring side to wear. The baggy green it would seem actually predates Australia as a nation. It was officially adopted in 1908.
The Australiasian Olympic Team comprising of both Australians and New Zealanders wore gold and green at the 1908 London and 1912 Stockholm games.
The Wallabies who previously had played in blue or white, either chose gold after beating the All-Blacks 3-0 in a test series in 1928/9 or in 1931 with the commencement of the Bledisloe Cup.
Almost in defiance which is why I still don't know who took it up first, the Kangaroos played in green and gold hoops in 1928 against England. The fact that one would want to distance themselves from the other is logical but I don't know which came first.
Certainly by the time that the Melbourne Olympics of 1956 came around, the green and gold was more or less permanent and by the time of Sir Jack Brabham winning the Formula One World Driver's Championship in a car he designed and built himself it was well and truly established - his car proudly bore British Racing Green with a gold stripe down the centre.
The 2008 Australian Olympic Team however walked into the stadium in a flashy blue and white affair. Whilst the opening ceremony doesn't need the national sporting colours, the designers still succeeded in producing a really crap looking uniform.
Posted by Rollo at 10:25
August 17, 2008
Sydney 0 - Melbourne 0
On a night where the wind cut through the crowd like a shining scimitar through so many soldiers, last night's affair was cold and clumsy. For Sydney's efforts they were denied by the woodwork twice and Melbourne were beaten by an invisible forcefield, which surrounded the goal - put it this way, it certainly was not Sydney's skill that kept them at bay for 90 minutes.
Payne and Cole made their debuts last night and two more players on the bench also made their first start in the 15. Bridge was still away in China after the Olyroos campaign and the "marquee" player John Aloisi remains injured. So with a depleted squad, Sydney were up against it. Or were they...
This game was played in the air, with more chips than you get with a piece of fish. Melbourne captain Kevin Muscat looked like a thug, and pretty well much cancelled both Corica and Payne up front.
At the other end, baldy-man Net Fabiano really only had Bolton to bet most of the time and he failed in that.
The newspapers described this as "entertaining" but me thinks that has more to do with the fact that they were watching froma little cosy press box. Down in the stands we must have missed that bit. Bore-draw? Not really, but not exactly the catfight we should have sen either.
Posted by Rollo at 14:01
August 14, 2008
I should have realised this, but the reason as why so many world records have fallen at these Olympic Games... and it took NPR to find it:
The Water Cube pool also has 10 lanes instead of eight. Waves churned up during races don't bounce back into the swimming lanes. Waves that reach the sides are siphoned off by perforated gutters.
The Water Cube pool is close to 10 feet deep. That's 3 feet deeper than the pools of the past. The lane lines that separate swimmers are called wave eaters because they dissipate turbulent water. The goal is to make the water as flat and clear as possible, despite the churning that swimmers create.
What? Can I suggest that the "Olympic Pool" in the water cube is not really an Olympic Pool. I always thought that an "Olympic Pool" was only 8 lanes wide, and if this thing is deeper than what sort of rubbish is this? Don't they have Olympic standards for this sort of thing?
What happens to the records of the great Ian Thorpe? How about Lionel Rose? Ok, he was a boxer but what do you think Dawn Fraser would have to say? Already Michael Phelps is being touted as the "greatest Olympian of all time" by winning his 10th and 11th gold medals. Not to take anything away from the man because he did have to beat other competitors but he's won these latest ones in a great big smelly cheat-pool.
Should any of the records have any standing? What next? The Mens 196km Marathon? The Super 16m platform dive? And yet the IOC has the nerve to tell the comptitors not take drugs? If you're going to start changing the games themselves I say it scarcely matters.
What not just go the who shebang and have the Ultra-Drugged-Up to the Eyeballs Games? I want to see someone run the 89m sprint in under 4.4 seconds.
Posted by Rollo at 07:38
August 13, 2008
XE.com tells me this morning that:
1.00 AUD = 11.0121 ZWD
What's going on here? I thought I was a billionaire...
Notice: The Zimbabwe government redenominated the ZWD on August 1, 2008 at a rate of 10,000,000,000 old ZWD to 1 new ZWD. No new currency code has been issued, but the old ZWD currency remains legal tender until December 31, 2008.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has announced that it is going to fire Dr. Evil as its chief currency controller. No longer will it be possible to announce that you're a multi-billionaire when buying the local newspaper - how much is it? ONE HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS
Inflation was running so rampant that it got as high as 2,200,000% (2.2 million percent), in fact it got so bad that the physical supply of cash just couldn't keep up with the cost of goods. Whilst it may sound appealing to have a net worth of $100 billion dollars, in Zimbabwe the amount was not enough to even buy a single loaf of bread!
The Zimbabwean central bank, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), has mismanaged this hyper-inflation and has ignored advice from the International Monetary fund (IMF), instead choosing to print money as if it were toilet paper (which went for $417 ZWD per sheet, not per roll, in March of 2006, according to a New York Times article). As more money is added to the supply, the value of each individual unit of currency falls, until the currency becomes worthless.
Sothen, what is the solution? Generally inflation can be caused by too much money chasing too few goods, and one possible solution would be to increase the number and amount of goods produced. The other, more obvious solution would be to decrease (or at least stabilize) the supply of money. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. This is especially true when your leader is President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled the country for 28 years and was recently condemned by the international community for waging a campaign of violence against his political opponents. Mugabe is now threatening to loot businesses owned by foreigners, especially from the U.K., blaming them for his country's economic woes, all the while printing cash like there's no tommorrow.
Posted by Rollo at 09:36
August 08, 2008
Ok so the date is 8-8-8. It's lucky according to the Chinese and for deliberately that reason why the Olympic Games "officially" start tonight. Having said all of that, a far more interesting Triple Eight is the point of discussion today.
Triple Eight Motorsport who run the factory Vauxhall team in the BTCC interestingly also happen to engineer a Ford team (Vodafone) in Australia's V8 Supercar team (go figure). For this year's Bathurst 1000, 888 are bringing reigning British Touring Car champion Fabrizio Giovanardi for a tilt at the crown. Basically, Australians beware... this guy is good.
The Italian, who has eight top-line touring car titles to his name in the European, British, Italian and Spanish championships, will contest the Australian V8 touring car round at Mount Panorama with Team Vodafone, who have won the event for the last two years.
He had planned to attend the race to watch his new teammate Matt Neal take part in the event, but his VX Racing team arranged the deal with their sister Triple Eight squad in Australia. Giovanardi will partner Briton Marc Hynes in a Ford Falcon, while previous winners Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup will share the team's other car.
Meanwhile 888's other front line driver in the BTCC, Matt Neal is also racing the Bathurst 1000 this year, driving for arch enemies Holden in the Supercheap Auto Racing team. That's not going to end in tears, is it?
Posted by Rollo at 08:08
August 01, 2008
The difference between you and I is that you get deadlines and I write headlines... er...
WHAT does it say about Sydney that a 60-year-old journalist - on foot - is only just beaten to the city from Ryde by an express train and a limited-stops bus?
It says the following: The Sydney Morning Herald, the usual bastian of news reporting in this fair city that's built around a harbour has taken to stealing content ideas from BBC's Top Gear.
John Huxley, the Herald's associate editor, charged in to the CBD during Monday morning's peak hour in 80 minutes - almost the same time as thousands of commuters - using nothing but a pair of running shoes.
He'd need to run. I figure that the average running speed is about 6mph. Since the distance from Ryde to the city is 11.4 miles according to Google Maps, in 80 minutes he moves at roughly 8.55mph. For a 60 year old that's really moving.
It was the most revealing moment in the Herald's inaugural Great Commuter Race. Six reporters, six modes of transport, one destination. We wanted to find the fastest way from the leafy street in the North Shore electorate of Ryde where the Transport Minister, John Watkins, lives, to Parliament House on Macquarie Street. This is, after all, where he has to commute to each day if he is going to fix the mess that is Sydney's transport system.
We tried to make the race as realistic as possible by including in our calculations the time it took to walk to bus stops and alight from trains. And some of the results were surprising.
We had a team each on a train (there is no "Ryde" train station) and a bus, we had a motorist, a scooter-rider, and we had two of our more athletic staff under their own steam - a cyclist and, of course, "Hux", a marathon veteran.
The Hux? Some say that he expresses his feelings through his helmet... All we know is, he doesn't look happy taking public transport. Otherwise he's known as The Stig.
Ok, maybe that's enough bashing of the SMH... even the SMH admits when they've stolen something:
And the Transport Minister's verdict? "Your Top Gear-style transport challenge clearly shows the diverse travel options Sydney residents use to get to work every day."
My verdict? Watch out next week when the SMH drives across Africa, checks out Ford's new RS Focus, it puts celebrity Alexander Downer around it's track and let's The Stig loose in an Audi R10LMP... and on that bombshell, Goodnight!
May in a Mercedes GLK raced Hammond on a bicycle, The Stig using public transport and Clarkson by boat from Kew to London City. The Stig started on a bus, got on the Tube before taking the DLR. Series Ten, Episode Five
Posted by Rollo at 15:15